Monthly Archives: January 2018

UT president DiPietro readying for retirement move to Illinois

Though it hasn’t been officially announced, University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro will soon be retiring, according to a Victor Ashe column. His contract doesn’t expire until June of 2019, but the former Knoxville mayor says he will “probably” leave this fall.

It is a badly kept secret on campus as Deborah DiPietro, his wife, has used Facebook extensively for the past few weeks outlining her packing up their Knoxville home on Old Kent Drive.

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Some legislators collect more expense money for out-of-session work than in-session

Tennessee state legislators collected a total of $2.4 million in “per diem” expense payments last year with 14 getting more money for days when the General Assembly was not meeting than for days it was in session, reports The Tennessean.

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Van Huss pushes ‘heartbeat bill’ against wishes of some anti-abortion activists

Even though some anti-abortion activists oppose the idea, state Rep. Micah Van Huss says he will push for a vote on the so-called “heartbeat bill” to prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. It’s scheduled for a hearing Wednesday in the House Health Subcommittee, the panel that voted 5-4 to in 2017 to postpone any action until 2018, a move Van Huss now says “in essence doomed over 3,500 babies to death.”

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Bredesen’s Senate campaign staff includes veterans from his gubernatorial days

Democrat Phil Bredesen’s campaign staff in his run for the U.S. Senate includes several veterans of his campaigns for governor and officials who served under him while he was in office.

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Congressional candidate’s ex-wife asks Haslam for pardon (via email)

Allison Burchett, ex-wife of Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and reportedly a “confidential informant” for the FBI since their 2012 divorce, has asked Gov. Bill Haslam to pardon her conviction for misdemeanor cyber crimes – part of a plea bargain arrangement – before he leaves office next January, reports Cari Wade Gervin.

The request came in a Dec. 13 email that the Nashville Post report says is similar to one sent this week to “dozens if not hundreds of people” by Allison Burchett contending Tim Burchett and others “orchestrated the false accusations” against her. Burchett is currently running for the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District.

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Blackburn radio ad: ‘I stand for our veterans, the president and the Star Spangled Banner’

Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackurn’s campaign is running a radio ad wherein the current U.S. representative urges people to stand up when the national anthem  is played as a show of respect for military veterans.

“I’m Marsha Blackburn and I stand for our veterans, the president and the Star Spangled Banner, “ she declares in the one-minute ad, which can be heard HERE.

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Green Beret Democrat campaigns via surrogates in 7th Congressional District

Matt Reel, a Democrat seeking the 7th Congressional District nomination, is on active duty with the Green Berets until this summer and is campaigning for now through surrogates including former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis. But his campaign has put out an online ‘introductory’ video.

An opponent in the Democratic primary is Justin Kanew, a film writer and producer from Williamson County. On the Republican side, state Sen. Mark Green is seeking nomination to the seat now held by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackurn, who is running for the U.S. Senate rather than seeking reelection.

The Reel video is HERE; a press release below.

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Nashville talk show host Ralph Bristol terminated

Conservative Nashville radio talk show host Ralph Bristol says he has been fired by Cumulus Media “due to irreconcilable editorial differences.” He has been talking on WWTN – often with Republican elected officials and candidates as guests – for 11 years.

Excerpt from a Bristol Facebook post:

We cannot agree on what information and communications should be kept private and which should be hashed out publicly. Since I won’t abide by their rules, they will not abide by my continued employment.

Please know first, I am not sad or angry. And I have nothing to fear, financially or otherwise. I’m free, happy and as blessed as ever.

Bristol wrote that he may do daily podcasts instead and put up the first on Friday, during which he says the station officials accused him of “insubordination” and the dispute had to do with what he considers misleading information on President Trump’s medical diagnosis.

Former state Sen. Joe Haynes dies aged 81

Joe M. Haynes, a Nashville lawyer who served almost 30 years as a state legislator including a decade as Senate Democratic Caucus chairman, has died at age 81.

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Lee launches first statewide TV ad of gubernatorial campaign

Williamson County businessman Bill Lee, who polling indicates has the lowest name recognition among major Republican candidates for governor,  has become the first with a statewide television advertising campaign. The one-minute ad, entitled “Why,” is aimed at introducing the candidate to voters and is scheduled to run for a week starting on Saturday. The ad features footage of Lee farm and the candidate talking about the death of his first wife, the Lee Company that he runs and concludes with the declaration:

“Can I make life better for every person in this state? I believe I can. I’m sure going to try.”